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Budgeting Tips

  • Free yourself from money worries by developing a budget.
  • A budget is a simple spending plan designed to help you pay your bills and save for goals that are important to you.
  • If you're married or have a family, decide goals together. One person may handle the record keeping, but both should be involved in deciding how the money is spent.
  • Review your budget every six months to see if changes are needed. If you get a pay raise or your rent is increased, revise your budget accordingly.
  • Live within your budget or change it to best reflect your income, expenses, and goals.
  • Set-up a home record keeping system that is easy to use.
  • Start an emergency fund. Payroll deduction can make that easy.

Ten Most Common Money Mistakes

Financial experts feel these are the ten most common money mistakes:

  1. Not setting up and sticking to a budget.
  2. Not establishing a savings plan.
  3. Not keeping adequate financial records.
  4. Not setting up an up-to-date will and estate plan.
  5. Neglecting insurance protection including auto, disability, health, life, and property.
  6. Not setting long-range financial goals and objectives.
  7. Shying away from professional advice when it is needed.
  8. Going too far into debt. Credit cards can be hazardous to your wealth if you abuse them.
  9. Doing your own taxes when you don't have the knowledge.
  10. Not educating yourself financially.

Can't pay the bills?

There are several things you should do. Recognize the problem. Be aware of the danger signals including:

  • Not knowing how much you owe
  • Frequently making late payments
  • Paying only the minimum balance required
  • Spending more than 20 percent of your income on debts
  • Stop spending. Get control over your finances, don't let them control you.
  • Act quickly. Contact your creditors. Explain the situation and your concerns.
  • Be honest. Never make promises to a creditor that you'll not be able to keep.
  • Consider a consolidation loan. Combining your debts into one payment may be helpful.
  • Seek financial counseling. Lake Trust offers free one-on-one financial counseling assistance. Community colleges, religious organizations, and cooperative extension services also offer free or low-cost assistance.
  • Modify your lifestyle. Consider increasing your income and/or reducing your spending.
  • Avoid bankruptcy. There are substantial long-term consequences to filing bankruptcy - it can blemish your credit rating up to ten years and deny you certain employment opportunities. Bankruptcy is not an easy way out. Call Lake Trust Credit Union for help.